i told Corbett that he was old
and his face split
by realising the wrinkles that hung off it
to say ’no’
he shook his dreary udders
from which no more wisdom poured
and pronounced ‘i am dry now’
with a surgical flourish
at sixteen i took up despair
and wondered from which nook in my shoulders
i could see my genius flow
i picked a country off a map
‘Nebraska’ was a good, strong name
for a nation with a beard and orange hills
i would save the people there
there was no better start to conquest
for i could see its end already
nations clamouring for the touch of my hands
mother teresa died in my bed
i wept and shuddered and
poked my head under thick covers
as i roamed about the streets
and felt a rhythm of vast aloneness
syncopate my bucking hips
i drooled cyanide into my pillowcase
from resistances dotted past Europe and Russia
i kissed sartre in the frigid french air
joined tongues with Einstein
shared St Helena’s with Napoleon
pushed Hitler off a cliff
his face shining from under my floor ball stick
i have awoken with my hands strapped to my sides
in a white room sprayed with antiseptic
after tearing the skin off my kneecaps
for i could not stand the regular pattern
of little scratched dots there
yesterday Corbett told me
i had never been to France
had stabbed a friend with a toothpick
he told me he would not strangle me
and covered me with a grey blanket that fell in puddles
i could not straighten with my bound hands
when i can
i will write his name in a little red book
and beside it,
and he shall fall to the ground in the same agony
that carved insides out of a scalpel-wielding me
Corbett told me that i was mad.
This evening i tilted my skull towards the sky and saw a Michelangelo’s sunset covering the expanse i know as sky – swept off the urbane bus and phlegm-specked windows i suddenly become aware of a deep, throbbing desire to believe in something bigger than myself – to see that there would be a god absolute enough to have patented this beauty or churned it out in a colour factory with an audience of captivated humans with their manmade reason to have witnessed – and then i look down at the blue duffel stuffed between my legs, and the stale, pale, smell of sweat gracing an air hemmed in by many skins – and hear the children asking fantasy questions – “mummy, if you could be anywhere now, where would you be?” – and energetically i laugh myself off like a puerile joke.
Admit – is freedom supposed to be a chore? Suddenly i am able to understand the plight of atlas – i must answer for everything, have done everything, have been thrust into the world conscious and only too possessed of my own faculties. There are deaths continents away that i want to fold up under, tuck my feet up on a couch, miles above the floor when the blackness spills from distant sky into a discrete night in the bedroom. You, too, must pay for every second wasted as you grieved over the biological convergence that swaddled you into existence, and the bright outrage takes precious illogical seconds you cannot answer for. The world is beating on about you in within its silly incomprehensible law. No human scribe can read reason into the absurdity of our race, to which the angry, foolish, individual is the key – the man who distract himself with jobs, sex, and other people. This tribe has concocted its own reason – sketched crude parodies onto papyrus held beside the sun, turned and stared point-blank into the monstrous rim of eclipses, cried at seeing death, a more distant death like the starvees in Uganda that could not be more pure of bereavement – and yet they are. You are hugging everyone selfishly, egotistically to your chest, may believe that when one world ends all the others go marching on in the same invincible ignorance. But your life is not like the others – the phenomenal world is a dirty and threatening loan-shark, and to add humiliation to despair we cannot describe it in languages it has not already given us – rogues and thieves and highwaymen. Now you are kneeling upon a red carpet with a stake in your arms, and you remember that you have been nothing but an attempt by a species in the quest permanence and beyond that, a dark intelligible void. You place the stake onto the floor and slowly lower your heart into its sweet, weeping embrace.
The function of explanation at y=laziness yields a negative value of x.
I concede – would rather be named 14763 than a silly unpronounceable thing of romanised ‘asiatic language’. And really, i would rather not be named at all. I would like to be raised with fifty million other cherubs in a petri dish, produced by whirring machinery or rows of birthmothers strapped to daises in a clean production line, timed screams, timed labour, babies popping like popcorn to a cosmic manmade rhythm. I should be crammed with organic logic – i would be breathed into life from a first body – the first achiever of everything, i the machine evaluated every five minutes, battery checks and math. I would like to be stencilled into a character, well-oiled, the flesh concession to a world carved from itself – the brain turned against and into tiny metal canisters, transistors and lawful jetpacks. Bad faith will become the natural state, everything will be told what to do, we will relinquish ourselves and be incapable of fear or dysphoria, we will have no choices to pretend to make, or even lives to live – for this beautiful earth is too sublime to be life. We should pass into objects and out of objects, never having lived and never really dead, stark chance combinations, manufactured atomic algorithms, random, real.
Bravely, I aimed at utopia. And missed.
Now i know you – the dogma has faded from your face and you fall into my lap, a nude flap of flesh colour.
Hello, Amygdala. Do you see out of my tiny cut-out windows that strange and foreign man across the table? He is speaking, his lips are glistening and gnashing furiously into the shape of words, and when the occasional violent sound is called for, the tip of a viper tongue spittles out from between the gouged-out insides of the mouth and spits effluent into the air. When he is not shovelling food into his mouth he is excavating these words – all the way from Sakhalin that smoke-puffing incarceration from the other side of alimentary land. Suddenly i realise that he is hollow, and his actions transform – his mouth engorges in aggressive ripples and cradles slowly the contents of his stomach as they are brought out, dilated, under the light. The intestines are a trouble to unfold, but the vapid negroid bones fold obediently under the lap of a bloody, clumpy mass and now the whole system is herculean, pumping machinery – whistling with angry air socketed from one end of Person to the other, and still his hands march smoothly on, impaling himself furiously onto spoons and spoons of risotto, cream sauce whisked into the gale and ejaculated like albino mice just seconds after – the whole thing a sick diorama, clockwork.
Excuse me – I am pregnant with cherubs and wish to vomit them out into the world.
Disgust is clawing a battered way from my backpack of ribs even me as i fix my smooth, rolling gaze at her round, proud face. She glares sunnily back at me, inflated by everything she has ever said or done in her life, and her pimples wink like little metropolises in the sunlight. It is a casual disgust that rises at any hour – even as my eyes float over her kneecaps – that seem to be floating in hard lumps of cold fat, and the vast expanse of her body, bag smug over the right shoulder. There is a hand trickling up the front of my throat and the fingers are gnawing steadily at every deep intestinal duct, milking bile into my eyes as the fibre of my spine rustles in a shared misery. She is splayed like a debauched roman cow, gorged on wine and roast, a huge ham which, upon ingestion, emits matted phlegm-coated betrayal – strange, as though i had mistaken her for another of the little people – the chronic tossers, dependants, that i abandon and have been thoroughly abandoned by.
It is a casual, cruel disgust that rises at any hour and at all things.
A molecule off a tickertape counter must have graced Clemenceau Avenue on the fifth of January, two-thousand and fifteen, for as a bus pulled into a stop, its doddery air-conditioning pipe leaked water clandestinely onto the road, drops running together as the bus slowed to let loose its beeping brood into a stock of villas opposite – and now morphing into a third black stripe gracing the two yellows (parking, forbidden) on the grey tarmac – and now it has left, is picking up speed and streaking away from the poor sweat-sodden businessman with overflowing breath, vacuum gusting air that waves his tie good-bye over his shoulder, while the poor man, vanquished, stares at the growing blanks between the punctiform splashes, vivisected upon his lost road.
I confess – I have been walking out and giving the foul cough to the lambs that fled past on the street.
Dear year, give me slow death. The minutes are fresh, and smell of the magnified dew of an exponential new day – the time to make new things beside a world that celebrates this break. I know that i am a first man, that i have crawled out of the water and am now glaring at the proud orange sky above. I also know that i am alone – that i turned back and bit my mother to death upon birth, and now walk this world alone, my sight piercing through the sentient patterns of skin-bags plodding past me in times square and central park. Friend, i may speak to you in intelligible words, but how selfish you are – because you demand that i believe you more than the beautiful little doll-like friends that i have dreamt up for myself. They are perfectly manicured, up to their eyebrows and smell so refreshingly of lucky strike, and celebrate poetry in stolen boats off staten island coast, while you are coarsely emotional and too legal. I should believe them more than i do you. And here, abandoned on these new shining sands, i am inflamed by a new exciting wonder of having a new world spread out before me – thinning under my eyes, a landscape glitching and loading, into the forms of pinched trees and blue magma rock. Here is a huge serrated pie crust, and i shall breathe, like an angry baker at the task of furious bread, into this new world new life.
I am in It, and hence cannot read it off as blind optimism – it paints my vision in psychedelic colours too beautiful to question or be surreal.